Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Character Clones and Replayability

I had something interesting happen over the last few weeks. On two occasions, I had a character death (technically, one was a cohort) and the player, rather than roll up a new character, wanted to just change the name on the character sheet instead. I couldn't believe it.

As a player, I'm always itching to try out new ideas and give new mechanics a spin. I guess that's why I'm so stuck on multiclassing... it lets me "cheat" in a sense and play multiple character types simultaneously by merging them together. Playing the same guy twice in a row gets boring to me. I guess that's why I DM so often... I never get "bogged down" with a single character for long.

In the end, I made them reroll stats and start over with new equipment, but there isn't anything that prevents them from choosing the same class, same feats, same alignment, etc. throughout the rest of the character creation process, so I let the rest go.

I guess I just don't understand. To me, a great deal of the creativity that accompanies an RPG is linked to character creation, and if you forfeit that, it seems like you might as well be playing a board game. On the other hand, a campaign is only fun when the players are having fun, so if that makes the game more fun for them, then it's okay with me. It just strikes me as... odd...

Anybody else see this in their campaigns? Is it more common than I thought?

6 comments:

  1. Creating a character can be very tedious. I found doing that in 3.5 D&D to be mind numbingly so.
    I had a 3.5 character die at 1st level and rather than go thru all that again, I just wanted to change the name and start over. The group as a whole was against it and it really turned me off of the game.

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  2. I'm not against it, and I certainly don't want to turn my players off of the game... I just struggle to understand the "I want to play the same guy" idea. Even if it took some effort, I'd still rather create something new.

    There are just soooo many options, especially in my current campaign setting where any D20 Modern or D&D 3E/3.5 book you can get your hands on is allowed.

    Although I don't go overboard and wish for it ahead of time, I always see character death as a cool opportunity to try something new.

    It isn't that I'm against it... I just don't understand.

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  3. I am with Josh, I love playing with character ideas. But I can see why some people would rather not. For an NPC, I would be doing the heavy lifting in the character design so why would you not want an entirely new cohort . . .

    @Tclynch, as a GM, I would require a little changing of the cosmetic aspect of the character but I would accept that. But mostly, I would just have tried to avoid killing your character in the first place . . .

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  4. My players wouldn't want me to avoid killing the characters. We don't use a DM screen, so all die rolls are out in the open.

    If I started fudging the rolls, it would be painfully obvious and destroy any sense of verisimilitude within the game.

    Also, the player in question here has a very strong sense of morals, and I think he would see fudging the dice as cheating... that would likely turn him off to the game even more than the "tedious" process of character creation.

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  5. Well, as one of the mentioned parties, allow me to tell my side of the story.
    The character I lost was not the greatest character ever created, but he was efficient at what he did: close combat and diversion creation. He was fantastic at the role he was assigned to. To put it bluntly, "if it's not broke, don't fix it."
    If I create a new character that fulfills obligations apart from what the original character fulfilled, then I open the team up to weaknesses that we may not prepared for.
    So if the original character was sufficient, why tamper with success? I liked the character I had, thought he was great, and want him back. I have, however, since then, rolled up a new character.

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  6. 'Sup Matt...

    Hope this didn't offend... kinda sounded like it, but I'm tone deaf with plain text, so I could be wrong...

    Either way, I wasn't trying to push you away from the close combat specialist role... I know that's sort of your thing. There are just so many ways to fill that role that I assumed you'd try something different, that's all.

    You didn't change the character you made the other night because of this, did you?

    And was I right about seeing fudged dice rolls as cheating?

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